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The Claws of Africa

Author: Rupert Wilkey
SKU: 9798215426098


This biography tells the story of Richard “Dick” Prickett who is best remembered as the professional hunter at Treetops, Africa’s most famous hotel. It is the story of the life of Richard “Dick” Prickett, as told to his grandson, Rupert Wilkey and tells of the tensions experienced by those men and women as they adjusted to life in Africa.


In Kenya, Richard Prickett, known widely as ‘Dick’, is best remembered as the professional hunter at Treetops hotel, where Princess Elizabeth became Queen of England, after the sudden demise of her father King George VI in 1952. Dick always said she went into the tree a princess but descended as a Queen.When the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh returned to Treetops in 1983, It was Dick Prickett was at hand to show her the remains of the tree, now long since killed by fire, where she had spent that life-changing night. The Claws of Africa is Dick’s story, as told to his grandson, Rupert Wilkey. Rupert is a great storyteller and he paints a vivid picture of Dick’s early life as a happy-go-lucky lad, who spent the bulk of his time collecting bird eggs and fishing. Rupert relates Dick’s early adventures and his marriage to Gertrude Annie in the most hilarious style. Dick’s happy-go-lucky life changed drastically when he was drafted and eventually found himself in Africa. Hunting big game and fishing in the cool rivers flowing from the tallest mountain in Kenya became exciting past times for the young soldier and the claws of Africa dug deep into his soul. Dick subsequently found his way back to Kenya as a forest officer and things seemed to go well for him until after Kenya gained independence the adjustment took its toll on the previously happy-go-lucky settler community. He found himself back in England but life was simply unbearable and after another round of painful goodbyes he was back in Kenya where he stayed with his beloved Gertrude Annie until his death.This book makes an important contribution to the history of conservation in Kenya. Dick’s story is the story of many men and women who left their home countries and landed in Africa expecting to be on a short-term adventure, only to find that the allure of Africa is as strong as it is enduring. In those years, the abundant wildlife, the large empty spaces and dense forests, the hunting expeditions and trophy hunting were irresistible pursuits. This book also tells of the tensions experienced by those men and women as they adjusted to life in Africa; and the challenges that sometimes drove them to near destruction.

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Rupert Wilkey


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